GHMC budget has grown by merely 11% in 11 years

Sprawled across 650 square kilometres, Hyderabad is bigger than over 19 countries in the world. Formed on April 16, 2007, the civic body has a massive budget that would dwarf some of the biggest companies in the country. Holding the keys to this kitty are 150 corporators who decide how the money is spent, where it is spent, and also, who gets it.

In 2009, the GHMC budget was ₹3,159 crore while in 2020 it is ₹6,983 crore — a 121% jump. But factor in 11 years and the growth is just about 11%.

The GHMC elections will decide how the civic body functions and how the money is spent in improving it. How the civic body is functioning can be seen from its budgetary provisions and spending.

The budget for Telangana has leapt by 58% from ₹1,15,689 in 2015 to ₹1,82,914 in 2020. In contrast, the budget for GHMC has gone up by 24% from ₹5,550 crore after the formation of Telangana in 2015 to ₹6,983 crore in 2020. For 2020, the budget of Bangalore civic body was ₹10,893 crore, Mumbai ₹33,441 crore and Pune ₹7,390 crore.

A study prepared by the 15th Finance Commission on state of municipal finances in India reached this conclusion: “The first three years of the 14th Finance Commission (2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18), we find that the per capita CFC grants to urban local governments increased for all major states. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have the lowest per capita CFC grants to urban local governments among major states in 2017-18.”

A mere appendange?

The civic body now looks like an appendage of Municipal Administration and Urban Development Ministry with development projects and objectives dictated by bureaucrats instead of being decided in the civic hall after a noisy debate.

For a 500-year-old city, the budgetary provisions for preserving heritage has been abysmal. In the 2015-16 budget, ₹130 crore was earmarked under Environment, Heritage, Culture and Tourism of which ₹40 crores were marked for heritage corridors and preservation. But nothing more has been heard of the conservation effort except for the restoration of Moazzam Jahi Market, clock towers and Char Kaman near Charminar.

Hyderabad has perhaps the best budgetary provision to create and maintain good libraries across the city. Out of the property tax that is collected from citizens, 8% is earmarked as library cess that should go towards improving libraries in the city. Instead of getting nearly ₹100 crore that is collected as cess, the libraries are getting about ₹1.8 crore for maintenance.

Hyderabad is the engine that is powering the growth of Telangana in all sectors. The GHMC election will shape how the city changes in the next few years.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 4:17:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/ghmc-budget-has-grown-by-merely-11-in-11-years/article33207766.ece

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